John E. Tripp, 79, a retired grain and commodities specialist with the Department of Agriculture and an area resident for 46 years, died of cancer, Tuesday at his home in Bethesda.

He joined Agriculture as a specialist to grain procurement and sales in [WORD ILLEGIBLE] He subsequently served as deputy director for production and marketing. At his retirement in 1965, he was deputy director in the commodity stabilization services division.

Mr. Tripp then joined Cargill, Inc., a grain exporting firm, as a Washington representative until about 1968, when he retired for a second time.

Mr. Tripp was born in Monteruma, Iowa, and earned a degree in agriculture from Iowa State University in 1924. In 1937, he earned a law degree from Southeastern University here.

He served with the Army in France during World War I.

His first wife, Alice, died in 1964.

He was a member of Christ Lutheran Church of Bethesda.

Survivors include his second wife, Cecelia, of the home in Bethesda; three sons by his first marriage, Warren, of Centerville, Ohio, Arnold, of San Jose, Costa Rica, and Ralph, of Poolesville, Md; a sister, Louella Geho, of Lynn Haven, Fla., and two grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the American Cancer Society.